Seventh Circuit

The Federal Docket

United States v. Terrill Rickmon, Sr. (7th Cir. March 2020)

In a matter of first impression involving the use of ShotSpotter, GPS-enabled technology that detects gunfire, the Court held that there was reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle emerging from an area where gunfire was detected based on the short lapse of time between the detection and the stop, the vehicle’s proximity to the area, the behavior of the occupants, and other circumstances.

United States v. Ionel Muresanu (7th Cir. March 2020)

The Court vacated the defendant’s convictions for aggravated identity theft based on the trial court violating his Fifth Amendment right to be tried on offenses charged by the grand jury. The indictment against him was defective in alleging that he committed “attempted” aggravated identity theft, a non crime, and the district court erred in removing the “attempt” language from its jury instructions.

United States v. Herman Adair (7th Cir. June 2019)

The Court upheld a stop and frisk where, despite evidence that the defendant was not wearing a hoodie and the alleged suspect was reported as wearing a hoodie, the defendant acted nervously around the officer, the officer already knew the defendant was a convicted felon, and there was a “bulge” in the defendant’s pocket.

United States v. Ishaihu Harmelech (7th Cir. June 2019)

The Court held that payments made to a victim of a fraud scream can still be part of the loss amount if the payments were made “in furtherance of the scheme.”

United States v. Demontae Bell (7th Cir. June 2019)

The Court held that the officer violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment right by opening his phone after the defendant’s arrest, where the officer saw a picture of a firearm, but affirmed the district court’s denial of the motion to suppress under the independent source doctrine, since the officers had already seen the picture on another occasion, and since there was probable cause notwithstanding the tainted picture.

United States v. William Block (7th Cir. June 2019)

The Court held that the district court lacked jurisdiction to revoke the defendant’s supervised release since the defendant was not served with a formal revocation notice until after he had served the rest of his term of supervised release in custody while awaiting the revocation proceeding. The Court also rejected the Government’s argument that the defendant’s supervised release term was tolled once he was detained with two months left in the term.

United States v. Jacob Lickers (7th Cir. June 2019)

The Court affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to suppress based on a federal search warrant that was based on a defective state warrant. Though the Court agreed with the defendant that “any probable cause deficiency with the state search warrant would, as a matter of law and logic on these facts, heavily inform any conclusion we reach about the sufficiency of probable cause in the federal warrant application,” the Court upheld denial of the motion to suppress since the federal agents acted in good faith when they relied on the state warrant. The Court held that the focus should have been on the federal agents, who had no reason to question the integrity of the state proceedings, though the Court acknowledged that the result may have been different if the record reflected that the FBI had more knowledge about the state court proceedings

United States v. Paul Huskisson (7th Cir. June 2019)

The Court held that a warrant obtained after an illegal entry was an independent legal source for the drug evidence where the warrant application was supported by probable cause without the tainted information, and the Government’s decision to seek the warrant was not motivated by the illegal entry, despite inconsistent testimony from the agent at the suppression hearing and the agents’ decision to confirm the presence of methamphetamine before seeking a warrant. 

United States v. John Buncich (7th Cir. June 2019)

The Court held that there was ample evidence that the money paid to the defendant-sheriff’s campaign was more than a “campaign contribution,” and that they were in fact made in exchange for “official acts,” where the evidence showed that the awarding and revoking of contracts directly corresponded to the bribes being paid.The Court also held that the district court erred in admitting Rule 404(b) evidence regarding the deposit of a substantial amount of money in the defendant’s bank account since this evidence was unduly prejudicial and provided limited probative value, especially since the amount deposited was more than double the amount of bribes taken in.

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